The EV: What’s Not to Like?

Today’s Smart Planet has a take on the EV, which prompts me to reflect on the joys of the Nissan Leaf which we have been driving for a year, and mull about what the future of EV’s could look like.

Eight reasons I love my Leaf:

1. A driving range of 60-69 miles makes you more mindful of your driving habits, and that spills over into other driving you may do with a conventional vehicle.  Fewer trips by planning ahead vs. many short hops means less wear and tear on another energy system: You.

2. The Leaf is very quiet.  In an increasingly noisy world, this is a gift.  The sound system is superb.

3. No oil, so no oil changes, in fact, maintenance is minimal.

4. The Leaf’s dashboard is loaded!   You may be stumped by some of it, but chances are your grandchildren or other young people you know won’t be.   What an opportunity or some instruction and intergenerational bonding.

5. You are not ‘burning’ anything waiting at a light, stop sign, in backed-up traffic, drive-through banking, or car pool.   Zero emission means just that.

6. Next to a free hug, it is a great conversation starter with perfect strangers.  “Really, you plug it in at night, that’s it?”  Next question: effect on the utility bill.  A: Negligible.

7. Looks like a SUV — hatchback and fold-down seats — so you can haul stuff like four dining chairs or several bags of compost.  Not to mention seating for three adults.

8. Although the Leaf handles like a luxury car and is loaded with navigation features, it has frugal, battery-conserving touches like manual seat adjustments.  Makes me nostalgic for my 1972 VW Beetle (and my 1972 self).

Nissan_Leaf

Currently, the Nissan Leaf is an attention-getting solo act in our neighborhood, although there has been a proliferation of the 2013 Prius as more folks take advantage of year-end deals.    All good.

On the Walk for Our Grandchildren, we met a couple of dedicated environmentalists who had driven their Chevy Volt from Virginia to D.C., and had mastered the art of the dual fuel.  In their opinion, the Volt was the car of the future.   They may be right.  From the wonderful folks who tried to Kill the EV, comes the latest word on a Volt with a 200-mile range, all electric.   This is encouraging news because Nissan only sold 15,000 Leafs in the U.S.  in 2013, I suspect largely due to its limited driving range. Competition should improve both those numbers.

As a Leaf fan, I’m glad to see that The City of West Palm Beach has added free charging stations at the Clematis Street garage, to support the fleet of Leafs on order, thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.   Charge your EV while you shop or dine.  What a concept!  Will more retailers like more environmentally-savvy Kohl’s get on board?  I’m betting on it.

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One response to “The EV: What’s Not to Like?

  1. I read the article in Motor Trend. In the text was the phrase, “While all three of the goals, pricing, timing and range, are ambitious targets, none of them are impossible, but it’s likely one of the three may fall short of targets.” It reminded me of a carved wooden sign on the desk of an engineer colleague a few decades ago. The sign- ‘On time, on budget, on spec — pick two.’ It’s likely an immutable law of some sort.

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